The Rapid Action Battalion revealed the name of a new militant group, Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, in October last year. The law enforcers also reported a rare nexus between the Islamic militants and separatist groups in the remote areas that prompted them to launch a series of operations in the Chattogram Hill Tracts.
After arresting two suspected leaders of the new group during a raid near Cox’s Bazar’s Kutupalong Rohingya Camp No. 7, the RAB said the militants had taken shelter in the refugee settlements after security forces launched a crackdown in the hill tracts and other remote areas.
The law enforcers were embroiled in a gunfight with the suspected militants during the raid that began early in the morning and lasted until 10 am, said the RAB's spokesman Khandaker Al Moin on Monday.
The arrestees have been identified as Mashikur Rahman alias Ranbir, chief of the group's armed forces division, and his associate Abul Bashar alias Alam, a 'bomb expert'.
The law enforcers also recovered a cache of firearms and munitions from them.
Moin said Bashar was named in the list of 55 youths who left their homes in the last two years to take up militancy.
During preliminary interrogation, Bashar admitted that he left the hill tracts following the launch of the anti-militancy operations on Oct 3. He met Ranbir in Sylhet and several days later, the duo took refuge in a Rohingya camp in Kutupalong.
As part of its crackdown against the militants, the RAB arrested seven alleged members of Jamatul Ansar and three suspected separatists with links to the Kuki-Chin National Front, also known as the Bawm Party, in the Chattogram Hill Tracts on Oct 20, Moin said.
“The militants were operating with the help of separatists – a rare nexus that triggered concerns over domestic and regional security.”
“Syed Maruf Ahmed Manik, deputy chief of the militant group's armed forces division, was among the seven suspected militants arrested on Oct 20. He provided information about Ranbir and his possible whereabouts during his interrogation, prompting the law enforcers to conduct the raid on the Kutupalong camp on Monday.”